Guns, Booze, and Zombies, hehe, seriously. Now try reading that title again with a deep dark voice! There, I’m giving this one an extra zombie head just for the title!
It has been said on numerous occasions that you can’t judge a book by its cover or title, and yet I bet most of us still do, at least I know I do. And if I would not really say I “judge” I certainly build some expectations based on it. Unfortunately expectations are never a good thing in my opinion. Set them too high and you have a higher risk to be disappointed, set them too low and it’s not really fair to the book. Out cold is probably the best way to go.
So, having said all this you probably have figured out now that there is something wrong with this book, and indeed I’m afraid there is.
Guns, Booze, and Zombies takes us to the 1930 New York City, right in the middle of the prohibition and the great depression. I’m not too familiar with this portion of American history but when we think of that era I’m sure we all have some images that come to mind: macho gangsters with catchy nicknames such as “babyface” or “lucky” wearing classy suits hanging on the side of a car shooting their way out with a Thomson machinegun. Well, Guns, Booze, and Zombies has them all. Most of the genre’s cliches are there: the dialogs, the atmosphere and to some extent I must say that it works quite well. The author made a particular effort in writing dialog and expressions that fit the context. Although the mafia/prohibition background of the story did bring an exotic touch to the story I cannot really say it made it unique as I found most of the plots and twists to be very common to the zombie-apocalypse genre.
We follow the story of Benson Doss, the typical loner. Ex-professional boxing champion, the man is literally finished. He is unemployed, broke, about to be thrown out of his apartment. That’s when the shit hits the fan. As in many survival stories it takes extreme times to reveal the true potential of a character and this is exactly what is going to happen to our lead character, from zero to hero in a matter of a few pages.
When I say “a few pages”, I mean this literally because Guns, Booze, and Zombies is a very short story (97 pages). There is nothing wrong with a quick read but the problem here is that the book did not feel like a novella but rather a truncated novel. The end comes so unexpectedly that at first I thought I had received an incomplete copy. The author also left a major plot unfinished, a choice that I just can’t explain because it did not feel like an intentional cliffhanger but rather like an omission.
Overall Guns, Booze, and Zombies left me with a double feeling of frustration, frustration for the lack of proper ending and frustration because I believe this book had all the ingredients to be a lot better.
Thank you so much for the review on the title Greg. Your time and thoughts are very much appreciated. Also, big thank you to Dave for his hospitality since day one.
My pleasure, G. Joseph. Best of luck with the book.
Thank you Joseph for the feedback, I’m hoping to read more of you some day!
good job greg